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The Unhealthy Act of Supressing Emotions: It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

By Tanesha Blackman

These past few months have been a trialling period for the world at large. We hear through the news every week that people are losing their jobs. Some are struggling to find jobs. The challenges faced by recent university graduates. People are losing loved ones and lives are literally turning into statistics. The sad thing is people are suffering by themselves in silence.

Even recently, many young people who received their results have been hit heavily with results not reflecting their true capabilities. The stresses of this pandemic and the effects have been reflected in the rising numbers of people becoming depressed and anxious. This pandemic has really taken a toll on mental health and the uncertainty of what the future holds is causing a strain.

Many people are not talking about their problems and their emotions due to:

· Fear – not knowing who to trust. Fear of being turned way or having one’s feelings being belittled

· Feeling as though their emotions aren’t important or as significant as others

· Not knowing where/who to turn to

· Feeling as though they can’t explain what they’re feeling

Speaking about what you’re going through is very important, especially in times like these the worst thing you can do is isolate yourself. In isolation there’s no one to help you rationalise your emotions. Nobody to help you deal with your problems.

During my teenage years, I attended counselling sessions for Young Carers. I remember always saying things to try and minimise my problems, but my counsellor told me something I’ll never forget:

Just because my problems may not be “as bad” as another’s doesn’t render my problems or emotions insignificant- as my problems are affecting my life.

Believe me, your emotions affect you more than you may think and suppressing them isn’t healthy. Your emotions and situations hold weight – they are valid.

Suppressing your emotions can take a toll on you and manifest physically as:

· Migraines

· Lack of Sleep (Insomnia)

· Heart Disease

· Digestive Problems

· Rashes

· Memory Loss

Suppressing your emotions can also lead to mental illness. When you act like your emotions are not there, they will eventually come back stronger. This culture of acting as though we are nonchalant is unhealthy. Feelings help us to understand what is going on in life and how to make our next steps. For example when we scared or threatened our body goes into “fight or flight mode” which helps the body to prepare to fight or run.

Talking about your feelings helps by:

· Helping you to gain understanding of what is going on and what you are feeling

· By speaking up you are taking back control over the emotion

· Lifts the weight off of your shoulders – “a burden shared is a burden halved”

· You are allowing others to get closer to you thus building trustworthy relationships

As someone who has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety I know it can be hard to accept and address it, but to heal and overcome we must be intentional. To overcome situations and feelings we must accept them and find ways to deal with them.

It’s okay not to be okay as long as you do your best to keep pushing day by day.

Speak to friends and family, alternatively here are some helplines you can contact if you want to talk to someone annoymously:

· Mind - Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

· PAPYRUS (Young suicide prevention society) – Phone HOPELINE UK: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm, and 2pm to 5pm on weekends)

· Samaritans - Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

You can also contact your GP who can direct you, or refer to your local NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service to access therapy.

All in all just remember that it’s okay not to be okay as long as you do your best to keep pushing day by day and you’re not alone.

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